March 14, 2014

Chester V. Clark IIIThe miracle of life

— \With spring in the air and the dogwoods starting to bud, my reflections turn again to the miracle that we call life. Call me simple, easily impressed or perennially forgetful; but isn’t it amazing that dormant plants and trees can come to life again after the bitter cold of winter?

Flower bulbs, lying seemingly forgotten beneath the cold ground, begin their green push towards the sun, lifting last fall’s leaves or mulch. Little seeds, planted only days ago, begin to sprout and make their presence known. The sap begins to flow again, and the tips and sprigs of the trees first swell and then burst into budding flowers and leaves. Today we can even record these amazing phenomenons of nature with incredible perspective and clarity. Time-lapse videography captures the stunning power and life of spring in intimate detail. We are awed by nature and nature’s God, who truly “made all things well.”

Yes, I love watching those time-lapse videos of crocuses blooming through the snow, roses bursting from bud to bloom and seeds pushing through the moist, dark soil. But there’s something even better — experiencing it firsthand! Seeing a seed that I planted coming up, walking around my neighborhood and enjoying the daffodils nodding at me as I walk by, monitoring the daily process of the dogwoods and the forsythias while hearing the rustle of the warm March winds in the pines and the chirping of the crickets in the grass, stripping off my sweater and feeling the sun on my skin and the breeze in my hair ...

Yes, I love spring!

Yet the miracle of spring fades into insignificance compared to the miracle of what God does in the human heart. Ezekiel’s illustration (Ezekiel 37) of dead, dry, sun-bleached bones becoming reconnected, filling out with flesh, coming to life, standing and walking around comes closer to surrounding the mystery and miracle of the power of God bringing new life the soul.

Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: ‘Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 37:4-6).

This miracle can never be fully explained or described in finite human language. Even Jesus, when speaking on the subject, compared the moving of the spirit to the wind blowing in the trees (John 3:8). Thousands of sermons have been preached, and many books written, yet mortal words fail to fully capture the wonder. We can gain a lot of knowledge about God’s methods of working. We can even thrill to see the changes firsthand in others. But the miracle of miracles, when God brings new life to the soul, can only be properly understood by experience.

So here I find myself, surrounded by the miracle of spring — basking in the now-warm rays of the sun, absorbing the baby green of new shoots and fresh leaves. I’m marveling in the incredible life-giving power of a loving creator. Which leads me to begin reflecting on my own life as well. As much as I enjoy being immersed in the wonder of this season, I so much more want to be immersed in the marvels of spiritual regeneration. I want it to be perpetually spring in my heart!

What about you?

 Chester Clark III is pastor at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Dalton. His column appears on the third Saturday of the month.